Pakistan is home of most stunning Himalayan peaks, including K-2 and various magnificent valleys. It has beautiful Arabian Sea, deserts, Indus valley, ancient Buddha’s civilization carved in its mountains and historic forts. With all this it is suppose to be one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations.
But due to a weak travel and tourism framework, low branding and marketing effectiveness and deduced priority given to the travel and tourism industry by the government, Pakistan has been ranked 103 of 124 countries around the globe. The World Economic forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008 (TTCR) revealed these facts and figures. These figures highlight the reinforcement and significance of environment’s sustainability in Pakistan. One can also evaluate the competitive advantages and disadvantages to the tourism industry in Pakistan through glancing at these statistics.
Despite various campaigns to attract tourist from around the world the number has been dropping each year. This year it dropped by 6% as compared to the figures of last year. Presently it’s the harsh image that is discouraging travel and tourism.” Things are not good in many parts of the world. There are crime problems. There are slums. There are terrorist problems. Sri Lanka has had the Tamil Tigers for decades and people still go, if you think where you are going should be completely peaceful, you will be constricted in your options. Being a tourist in the 21st Century requires a little courage”, says Minister of tourism.
Another factor for which Pakistan faces competitive disadvantages in tourism sector is the lack of facilities that cannot compete the international standards. With a poor tourism infrastructure the provision of standard and competitive hotel rooms in Pakistan is at number 110, the national and cultural recourses is at 96, with recent security situation prevailing it is ranked 106 and ATM machines accepting Visa cards is 110 within 124 countries. Rising inflation is another factor reducing tourism here. A restaurant owner said that the flaming cost of wheat is behind rise in prices. He said the amount of wheat he bought in 2006 was Rs.450 and now the same amount costs 1200. Tourists returning back from these places have words of rising inflationary trends which as a result discourage other tourists too.
One can use this report’s statistics to classify and measure the factors contributing in making a weak travel and tourism industry in Pakistan. The government should demonstrate the significance regulatory framework in these areas by making available supportive business opportunities with a world class roads network having a firm focus on transportation facilities. The maturation of human and natural resources can also contribute in development of this feeble industry.
Although Pakistan faces many competitive disadvantages in travel and tourism industry but still one cannot ignore that Pakistan was ranked 40th for its airline services and 39th for ground transport infrastructure. What is needed is a focus on preserving the natural environment like many other countries. This will not only attract more tourists but also would play a role model in the world as a cause in support on global warming.